I had a little trouble listening to this album knowing that lead singer John Wetton, who just recently passed away, will never make another Asia album. But, hearing John sing on this wonderfully made new live album made me appreciate even more the legacy he left behind with his time in Asia.
This album will be newly released to the world, but it’s from a show recorded on September 21st, 2013 during the Sound of the Ages Festival at the 2nd Century Roman Theater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. What’s different is on some songs on the set-list, the band was joined by The Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Levon Manukian. It was then aired on Bulgarian television the following December. Joining Wetton are original members Carl Palmer on drums, Geoff Downes on keyboards, and guitarist Sam Coulson.
“Soul Survivor” leads things off and is one of Wetton’s personal favorites as he performed it live at every show. “Heroine,” off of 2008’s Phoenix is one of my favorites here. It’s so quiet in the theater, you can hear a pin drop. This song is done acoustically, so hearing Wetton sing brought a tear to my eye. It’s just a beautiful song. They do play their hits “Don’t Cry,” “Only Time Will Tell,” and of course, “Heat Of The Moment,” with the orchestra for the latter two. Now, as of this writing of this review, the future of Asia is uncertain, so this could very well be THE last release from this band. If it is, Asia have once again made another gem and these fourteen songs prove it.